Echobelly : People Are Expensive

Britpop also-rans return

[I]”I wanna do great things”[/I], sang saucer-eyed Britpop meerkat Sonya Aurora Madan in 1995, presumably intending to start work on mapping the human genome as soon as she’d finished another nursery-school skipping rhyme that sounded a bit like The Smiths. Throughout the ’90s, in fact, her pioneering research into the reversal of the greenhouse effect was put on the back burner in favour of irritating indie chirp-pop. Before she knew it she’d been pipped at the post on WAP phones, the world’s first solo trans-Atlantic swim and the chunky Kit-Kat.

So, still shaken by the critical massacre of their 1997 electro experiment, ‘Lustra’, Echobelly decamped to the Himalayas to seek out the spiritual path to greatness. They returned clutching stone tables carved ‘same as before, bit more Portishead’. Cue fourth album, ‘People Are Expensive’, their mid-career crisis record full of poor-man’s-Bjork wailing and dour shimmer rock, notable only for the funky mantra of ‘Kali Yuga’ (George Harrison exploding), and ‘Point Dume’ (the noises you’d hear in the night if your flat was haunted by Brian Wilson). ‘Down To Earth’ retains that chipmunk chirpiness of old, but otherwise ‘People…’ is a pleasant enough stop-gap for Goldfrapp fans.

Mark Beaumont